Bridging the Gap
THE LAST 24 HOURS has seen significant announcements, nationally and locallyto help support local business and stimulate innovation in our areas, looking to create jobs and regenerate our communities.
I don't normally comment specifically on news items in my blogs, but yesterdays speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Governor of the Bank of England, which will result in the Government expanding the provision of cheap credit to the banks is welcome - and potentially beneficial to the economy - even if critics argue that it is not enough! And certainly the dicusssions I have had with banking colleagues, who are concerned about the increasing cost of souring loan capital, is incredibly concerning to all of us in the financial sector. The high cost of capital is making it difficult for institutions to provide the funds that enterprising businesses need, and homeowners require to invest in their properties. The creation of the new Big Society Capital in April - see my blog a couple of months ago - is again welcome but not a comprehensive solution for all aspects of the work we do. As a "social finance intermediary", Parity Trust needs access to a range of sources of affordable capital to enable us to achieve our objectives and ultimately benefit the client. We must hope that initiatives like this may make a difference, although with the continuing uncertainty in the Eurozone, the challenge is all for those to see.
But back to Portsmouth and the launch of the "Bridging the Gap" SME start-up and SME growth fund. This is a £2million fund and a partnership project involving the Solent Local Economic Partnership, The News and the University of Portsmouth. And I'll declare an interest as a member of the Investment Panel! It's designed to provide local entrepreneurs with valuable start-up cash and money to expand their businesses, sourcing employment for local people and contributing the grow the private sector. Stuart Hill, a director of the LEP and CEO of IBM North Harbour, also announced two separate funds, a separate £3million fund to support businesses considering relocating to the former HMS Daedalus site and a new Apprenticeship fund. As you may also know, Parity Trust also has a new fund for graduates working with the University of Portsmouth.
So, at least this is clear evidence that there are funds available to support innovation and to facilitate growth - lets get the message out, spend those funds, help businesses to start-up and grow and play our part in building a sustainable economy.